Two moms. Five daughters. Opposite ends of the globe.

Two moms. Five daughters. A friendship that spans opposite ends of the globe.

We have been best friends for ages with a shared love for good food. A desire of good health for ourselves and our families have lead us to exploring the paleo lifestyle together. Enjoy our adventure!

Friday, September 28, 2012

Italian Wedding Soup

I have two tweens. And we have been striving for a paleo lifestyle after many years of eating grain-ful, but otherwise generally healthy meals. I think one of the keys to keeping the girls "on board" with paleo is our ability to re-create past family favorites within this new paradigm. Today's challenge was to paleo-ize a commonly requested cold-weather Saturday lunch: canned Italian Wedding Soup. The girls have asked me to attempt this before but they couldn't decide on a replacement for the orzo or couscous usually found in this soup. I suggested we try veggies cut into tiny pieces and cooked al-dente and by some miracle, they agreed! I let the girls pick which veggies to try and they decided on carrots and zucchini. I julienned them with a mandolin slicer then further cut them into tiny orzo-sized pieces. We added the veggies at the last moment so they would maintain some of their texture and resemble a grain. This soup was an instant hit!


Serves 4-6

Meatball Ingredients:
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 T dried Italian seasoning
  • 8 ounces ground beef
  • 8 ounces ground pork
  • salt and pepper 

Soup Ingredients:
  • 10 cups homemade chicken stock or paleo-friendly chicken broth
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup spinach, chopped
  • 1/2 cup carrot, julienned and cut into tiny pieces*
  • 1/2 cup zucchini, julienned and cut into tiny pieces*

*I use a mandolin slicer to julienne the veggies into thin matchsticks.

  1. In a large bowl, mix the meatball ingredients and season with salt and pepper.
  2. Use a spoon to scoop the meat mixture and roll into small 1-inch balls. Set the meatballs aside.
  3. Pour stock/broth into a large saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  4. Add the meatballs, one at a time, and simmer for 10 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
  5. Beat the egg in a small bowl and pour very slowly into the soup.
  6. Reduce heat and add the spinach. Simmer for a few minutes.
  7. Add the carrot and zucchini and serve immediately.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Apricot-Cranberry Ginger Balls

If you haven't yet made your own homemade version of Lara bars... what are you waiting for?  The best site with the most versions I have seen is at Chocolate Covered Katie's blog.  This is NOT a paleo blog!  She's Vegan and does a lot of raw...and its all desserts.  BUT - her fudge babies are great, and they are paleo--well, most of them! The original recipe is very good, much like a chocolate brownie.  My kids love the "hot chocolate" flavored ones the best.  But today I wanted to use up some dried apricots, and was in the mood for something spicy.  

The basic recipe and procedure is really easy... almost equal amounts of dried fruit and nuts...add spices or cocoa... and blast it all in the food processor until it looks like coffee grounds.  See her site for more, but here is my recipe for today:

Apricot-Cranberry Ginger Balls

6 dried apricots
2 dried dates (big medjool ones, 3 or 4 if you have really small dates.)
1/2 cup dried cranberries.  

(Total amount of dried fruit is 1 cup!)

2/3 cup almonds

1/4 teaspoon dried ginger
pinch allspice
pinch ground cloves
pinch of salt

Dump all ingredients into a food processor and run it until it looks like coffee grounds.  Takes a while, but pay attention so you don't get paste.

Form into balls, or press into an 8"x8" pan and cut into squares.
Makes 16

(When I make these, I dump the finished mix onto cling wrap...form into a log, wrap the log in the plastic wrap and squeeze it together... then I unwrap the log and cut it into 16 pieces.  Then take the chunks and roll them by hand into bite sized balls.  The first time you try these you may think there is no way the mix will stick together, but it does!)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Alaskan Sourdough Pork

In local slang, a Cheechako is someone new to Alaska while a Sourdough is an Alaskan old-timer. This tangy and spicy barbecued pork is delicious enough to satisfy even the most crusty of old sourdoughs. Pre-paleo, my family loved the yummy barbecued meats grilled up at Sourdough Mining Company, a replica of an old mill house filled with gold mining memorabilia. Since it's impossible for me to eat there without indulging in their corn fritters and honey butter, we have steered clear from there for quite a while. This dinner was my successful attempt at serving the girls a Sourdough worthy meal!

Serves 4-6

Pulled Pork Ingredients:
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 1/2 pound pork loin roast
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 slices bacon
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • salt and pepper 

BBQ Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 cup liquid, reserved from the cooked pork
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 T fresh ginger, finely grated
  • 1/4 - 1 T sambal olek (or another paleo-friendly hot sauce)
  • 1 T spicy brown mustard
  • 1 T rice vinegar
  • 1 T frozen pineapple juice concentrate (100% juice)

  1. Place chopped onion in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  2. Add the roast. Cut slits on the roast and embed a garlic clove in each one.
  3. Pour chicken broth over the roast.
  4. Cover with slices of bacon and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Cook meat on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.
  6. Strain pork, reserving liquid and set aside.
  7. In a sauce pan, add all ingredients for the BBQ sauce.
  8. Simmer for 20 minutes, until sauce thickens.
  9. Stir pulled pork into the sauce and serve immediately.
For a complete sourdough dinner, serve with paleo coleslaw and sweet potato fries.

Paleo Coleslaw: Chop cabbage and carrots or use a pre-packaged coleslaw mix. Whisk together a dressing made with olive oil, rice vinegar, and spicy brown mustard.

Sweet Potato Fries: Peel 2 sweet potatoes and cut into fry size pieces. Soak in cold water for 20 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Drizzle with olive oil and spicy spice mixture (I like using berbere, an Ethiopian spice mix). Spread onto a cookie sheet and cook for 30-45 minutes at 400 degrees.

    Monday, September 3, 2012

    Beef Enchilada Stew

    It's Labor Day. Woo hoo... time to put away the white pants and pull out the slow cooker! OK. That's a lie. I don't own white pants AND I use my slow cooker year-round. But now that it's September and cool weather is upon us (at least in Alaska), I feel much more obliged to make slow cooking part of my weekly routine. Even on a holiday when I'm not coming home from a busy day at work and wanting dinner ready to go, there's something comforting and cozy about a slow cooked meal.

    Serves 4

    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 1 1/2 pounds stew meat, cubed
    • 3 slices bacon
    • 1/2 to 1 T cajun seasoning
    • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
    • 1 onion, chopped
    • 1 can (28 ounces) El Pato enchilada sauce

    1. Add 1/2 T coconut oil and meat to the slow cooker.
    2. Cover with slices of bacon and sprinkle with seasoning.
    3. Cook meat on low for 4-6 hours, or until meat is cooked through and tender.
    4. Heat remaining oil in a pan over medium-high heat.
    5. Add garlic and fry until frangrant.
    6. Add onion and fry until it turns golden brown.
    7. Add enchilada sauce and simmer over medium heat for 15 minutes.
    8. Stir in contents of slow cooker, including the liquid. Cook 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.
    9. Serve over roasted or stir-fried vegetables.

    Sunday, September 2, 2012

    Cran-Balgar Roasted Chicken

    We're kicking off a fresh start and new school year with a strict Whole30 challenge! The summer has been hectic but the girls and I are ready to get back on track with better eating habits. In addition to my commitment of providing "real" food meals in my home, I am getting back into the habit of posting our fab recipes online.

    This dinner was a complete experiment that turned out phenomenal! Sunshine wanted me to make a sweet-and-spicy sauce for the roasted chicken I was preparing. I wouldn't exactly call this sweet and spicy, but the gravy was so rich and delicious that we were fighting over who got to lick the pan!

    Serves 4

    • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1/4 cup coconut aminos (or wheat-free tamari/soy sauce)
    • 1 T frozen cranberry juice concentrate (100% juice)
    • 1 T hot chili sauce (paleo-friendly)
    • 1 T coconut oil
    • 12 chicken drumsticks
    • 8 garlic cloves, skin-on
    • 1 onion, thinly sliced
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 1 bag cabbage and carrot "coleslaw mix"

    1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
    2. Mix the balsamic, coconut aminos, cranberry juice, and hot sauce in a large bowl. Set aside.
    3. Heat oil in a dutch oven over medium heat.
    4. Sear chicken legs on all sides then add to the marinade sauce.
    5. Fry whole garlic cloves until lightly browned.
    6. Add the sliced onion and fry 3-5 minutes, until onions begin to brown.
    7. Place chicken legs back into the dutch oven, over the onions and garlic.
    8. Baste chicken with the remaining marinade.
    9. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
    10. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.
    11. Serve over cabbage.